I hope you all are enjoying the Holiday season. I’ve been hopped up on egg nog for 10 days and counting.

Thanks for being such awesome BeautyOlogy readers. Fun things are afoot for 2010, and I am really looking forward to sharing the upcoming BeautyOlogy changes.

Wishing you all peace, happiness and prosperity. Let’s have a stunning 2010!

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Congratulations to Katy, whose name was picked by Random.org as the winner of the Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil. Thanks so much to everyone who participated in my first EVER product giveaway.

Still want to try it? Weleda has a fantastic offer for the Holidays. You can pick up a Pomegranate Travel Kit for $9.99, with FREE shipping through December 24th. The travel kit includes the amazing oil, as well as the Pomegranate Regenerating Hand Cream and the Creamy Body Wash. I recommend stuffing your own stocking with this kit!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in my first ever product giveaway! Kinda fun, right?

If you have dry winter skin like I do, Weleda’s Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil is a little miracle in a bottle.

Weleda was tickled with my kids rave review of their Calendula Cream Bath. So they asked if I would be interested in doing a product giveaway from their new Pomegranate Regenerating line. They sent along a bottle of their Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil  for me to try, and it could not have arrived at a better time.

The skin on my legs were such a flakey mess that I couldn’t even wax them properly. After one use, the skin flakes disappeared, even 24 hours without reapplying.The oil absorbed quickly, and did not leave a greasy film (my least favorite side effect of a body oil). The scent is light and lemon grassy, which I really loved. Although, sadly, the beautiful smell disappeared after a few hours (or I sniffed it right off my arm).

Punicic acid, found in pomegranate seed oil, is the real workhorse of the antioxidants. This omega 5 oil has been proven in clinical studies to be an anticancer agent, hence the recent push to injest more pomegranate. In the skin, a 2006 study from the University of Michigan Medical School, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, showed  that punicic acid promoted the regeneration of the epidermis.

I was so impressed with the results that I tried it on the kid. Being Weleda, I knew it would be gentle enough for her skin, and that we wouldn’t need to decontaminate her from an over abundance of chemicals after. And that’s where Weleda really won me over. As I blogged here last week, my kid has keratosis pilaris and I have not been able to find anything to tame her KP. After using the Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil on her for a few days, I noticed a reduction in the chicken bumps on her arms.

I inquired with Weleda about this, and they had not heard of the Pomegranate line helping with KP, although I am pretty certain that the punicic acid is breaking down the hardened keratin in the clogged follicles while the super moisturizing oils like jojoba are keeping the skin soft and limber.  I want to point out that Weleda does not make any claims that the product banishes KP, but was my experience using the oil.

So this is, hands down, the best body moisturizer I have ever used. It’s a fantastic foil for winter ravaged skin, and I am really excited to offer this as the first Beautyology giveaway!

Leave a comment below this post to enter. The names will be entered in Random.org to pick the winner. You have until Wednesday, December 16 to enter! Good luck!

FCC disclosure: Weleda sent me a full size product to try, and are providing the winner with a full size bottle of the oil.

I spent 45 minutes at Sephora staring at DERMAdoctor’s KP Duty. Yes, I endured 45 minutes of Sephora at the Garden State Plaza Mall, with their gum snapping sales force sashaying past me over and over again, because I was on the fence about buying a product.

My daughter has keratosis pilaris on the skin on the backs of her upper arms. KP is not a horrible skin condition. It resembles goose bumps, or “chicken skin,” and is barely noticeable to the eye. KP is an overproduction of the protein keratin, which causes little plugs in the hair follicles, and is usually genetic. I was happy to leave the KP alone, but as the weather got colder, she began complaining that her arms were itchy (dry air exacerbates the condition).

I wasn’t sure I wanted to use KP Duty on her skin, mainly because it contains glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a wonderful exfoliant, and I use it professionally in a number of peels. But it is very strong acid–the GA molecule is so small that it is uber penetrable. And while this makes it one of the most effective Alpha Hydroxy Acids, it also makes it very irritating. And my kid has pretty sensitive skin.  While I was certain that the percentage of GA in the product was low (less than 10% in mass market products), I still had concerns about her skin reacting. But it was all I could find that I thought may remotely help the KP, so I decided to hold my breath and try.

Turns out, my 45 minute stress out at Sephora was completely unnecessary. Not only was KP Duty not at all irritating to her skin, it wasn’t remotely effective on her KP. After two weeks of usage, I saw zero results.

I am now trying it out as a moisturizer for my rough, nasty heels. To date, they are still rough and nasty.

Ya’ll know how much my daughter and I love Weleda. Now they are holding a contest for the next cover model of their lifestyle magazine we. I really want to enter my kid.

The winner receives a trip to NY for the photo shoot (ok, we don’t really need that), organic fame as a cover model (we don’t really need that either) and a $300 gift basket full of Weleda products (yes, we really really need that).

Hello Stage Mom!

Enter here! Contest closes on December 13. Good luck!

PS: Keep a sharp eye on this blog–next week, I am having my first EVER product giveaway with Weleda. The product has quickly turned into a winter necessity, and my several week’s long trial is showing amazing results.

Did you hear the news? (Of course you did, it was the media equivalent of shock and awe.) On Friday, Oprah announced that her final show would be Sept. 2011, after 25 years on the air. So while the speculation about her reasons run rampant, now seems like the perfect time to talk about Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk.

Robyn Okrant spent a year doing absolutely everything Oprah recommended–purchasing Oprah endorsed fashion, cooking Oprah approved meals, reading Oprah endorsed books, finding Oprah approved spirituality. She chronicled her Oprah experiment on her blog, where readers can see what a monumental task this undertaking became. Between Oprah’s TV show, her magazine and her website, Robyn spent a whole lot of money and even more time to live an Oprah-approved “best life.”

I don’t really watch Oprah or read her magazine anymore. Personally, I find her out of touch. Larry King just had her BFF Gale on his show, asking Gale how Oprah “engaged with the everyday lady.” To which Gale responded that Oprah was “just like you.” Sorry, Gale, no she’s not.

Oprah is worth billions. She can’t walk down the street, take mass transit, or fly commercial without getting mobbed. She can find the absolute best pair of pants, no matter what the cost, and buy ten of them. She can work out with expensive trainers and consult with nutritionists. Oprah employs a lifestyle army. It’s much easier to live your best life when money is no object.

But is Oprah really living her best life? From what I have read, her work schedule is insane. She has no work-life balance. Her yo-yo dieting is another tip-off that there may be something gnawing away at her. So is the commercialism that surrounds this best life really just a band-aid for happiness? Can it really be found in the best pair of pants, the best ergonomic gardening set, or the best rolfing?

The book comes out on January 3, and I am going to try track Robyn down for a quick interview for this ol’ blog! I am in AWE of the discipline it must have taken to live this “best life.” And I have a lot of questions too. Did Robyn find her best life by Living Oprah? Does Robyn think Oprah is really living her best life? Is the Best Life found in those perfect pants, or did she somehow transcend these messages and find a spiritual epiphany?

InfantArmI was never a touchy person. My husband loves the hugs and the snuggles, and it took a long time for me to get comfortable with this. There was an invisible line drawn down the middle of the bed, and I was perfectly happy to stick to my side. The only time I enjoyed touch was with my pets. For whatever reason, the snuggly dog didn’t bug me as much as the snuggly husband, who smelled piles better than the pooch. (My dog is snuggling with my feet as I type this.)

So this touch-phobia made becoming an esthetician a bit challenging.  I spend hours touching people. And I will be honest, it really took a while to get used to touching a stranger and being OK with it. And I will also admit that there are moments when it can still be difficult for me. If I don’t connect immediately with the person on the table, I am much more tentative and it can take a while for the touch to feel comfortable.

Touch is a very powerful thing. So is a lack of touch. According to the massage magazine Body Sense, “So serious are the effects of touch deprivation, it’s considered by researchers to be worse than physical abuse.” I am not sure that I am comfortable going that far, but clearly touch (and lack of it) are important to the overall well being of our bodies and minds.

Body Sense cites a University of North Carolina study that found hugging reduced the body’s level of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone associated with weakening the immune system, anxiety, anger, not to mention, of course, acne. This same team of research scientists also observed that hugs boosted the levels the hormone oxytocin, which improves heart function.

Here in the US, we aren’t comfortable being touchy. There are a thousand reasons why–we’re litigious and touch can be misinterpreted; we are technology driven and have minimal interaction with live human beings. In a city like NY, where people are packed in so tightly, touch avoidance is a herculean effort, and getting off a subway without the brush of a stranger’s skin is worthy of an Olympic medal. Personal space is sacred, and this may be to the detriment of our health.

I pushed through my comfort zone and learned to appreciate and value touch. Where I once favored extractions (estheticians all love the goop removal), massage is now my favorite part of the treatment. When I feel the tension release, I know that the person on my table is mentally and physically detoxing. And going through my rituals of massage, the focus I need to perform them, and the warmth that touch brings, allows my brain to drain and relaxes me as well.

So take a minute, right now, to hug your significant other, your kid, your dog, your cat, your Mom, whoever is closest (OK, maybe not your boss). And I don’t mean that hug that’s akin to an air kiss. Hug it like you mean it!

CliniqueDeepComfortMy nails are perpetually ignored. The last time I went in for a mani, the nail tech was completely confused by my instructions. Nails short, don’t cut cuticles, and NO POLISH. Poor woman couldn’t handle it. She was especially apoplectic about the lack of polish. (I can’t polish my nails because it traps bacteria, so it’s unsanitary. If you have an esthetician who has polish on the nails, run the other way.)

So, rather than a repeat of this scenario over and over again, I opt for DIY manis. But those who read me regularly know I have a real problem scheduling my own treatments. Manicures particularly annoy because they feel so time-consuming. It’s the soak part that gets me every time. I never soak long enough because I can’t stand to sit still.

This weekend, I had an epiphany. I got all my manicure implements out and then tackled the piled up dishes. By the time I was done, my nails were sufficiently soaked and softened. I used Clinique’s Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream on my cuticles and pushed them back, then trimmed and filed. I followed up with some Vitamin E rubbed into the cuticles and slathered of another layer of Deep Comfort all over my hands and nails.

Nails look great and dishes are done! Multitasking manis rock.

SwagI am guessing ya’ll heard about those new FCC rules re: bloggers and disclosure? So for the record…

At this point, I buy all of my product. I am not swanky enough to get inundated with swag (please oh please click the link PLEASE), and I am not chasing it either. Although it would probably be more financially responsible for me to ask  for free product to try. But I have never been terribly responsible.

You will notice I don’t  product review much these days. Times are tight at the mo, and I can’t buy as much product as I would like to try. It’s hard for me to justify buying something right now that may very well end up in the trash.

If it’s a free sample, or something I received as a gift (yes family members buy me product!), I will disclose that.

I try not to blog about the product that I use in my treatment room and/or retail, which is hard because I obviously adore those products but I am not here to be all sell-y. If I do mention any item I professionally work with, I disclose it.

Since this blog is a free WordPress blog, I can’t accept any forms of advertising. If I migrate to my own site someday, that may change. But for now, we are ad free (though I think WordPress may stick their own ads up from time to time-these have nothing to do with me). This includes “sponsored posts.” I wish I had someone who would sponsor me for just being fabulous, but I married for love, not money, which was, once again, irresponsible (see paragraph 1).

So, basically, I don’t make money from this and I don’t get free product or invited to swanky lunches, product launches, or press junkets to exotic locations.

I think disclosure is fine, and I was doing it anyway. But I am not terribly thrilled that the government thinks this blog may require federal oversight. Where’s the oversight on the health insurance companies who jack up rates and deny claims? Where’s the oversight on Wall Street? I really don’t understand why, with all the flailing around going on in this country right now, they decided that the bloggers need a babysitter. But whatever. Disclosure is easy enough.

However, if the FCC is really interested in crack downs, I would recommend they do not forget that traditional media has an awful lot of pay-for-play that going on as well. When I worked at the glossies, companies that advertised always had their product first in line for an editorial mention. And when it came time to ID the makeup worn by the cover models, we used a rotating list of advertisers. We would send them the cover image and asked them to color match everything with their products and give them the credit, regardless of what the makeup artist used. Just sayin…

So thank you FCC. I hope I am in compliance. Please don’t fine my ass.

calendula cream bath 150My daughter inherited my sensitive skin–it nicely welts right up when she comes in contact with something too irritating. And, of course, being an esthetician and skin care freak, I have tried every baby and kid product imaginable since she was an infant. My only criteria was that the product be haz-mat free.

When organic-minded new moms gave a thumbs up to California Baby, I gave that a whirl, but I found the products kind of drying (particularly their hair care). So when I stumbled on Weleda at an organic esthetician’s skin studio while we were on a long beach weekend, I picked up a bottle of their Calendula Cream Bath for my kid.

As a sensitive skinner myself, I have always been partial to Calendula. It’s anti inflammatory and incredibly gentle and healing. The base of Weleda’s Calendula Bath Cream is sweet almond oil, which is easily absorbed and very moisturizing. It protects the skin barrier and keeps the skin super smooth.

Weleda is an organic brand that has almost invincible staying-power. Eighty years ago, they pioneered the concept of Biodynamic farming, which is only now being used as trendy organic buzz words in the beauty biz today. The company was founded on the principle that the products support and enhance the body’s own natural healing tendencies.

Since my kid’s the one using it, I asked her to provide her review of the product during bath time tonight:

I like it. It makes me smell pretty and I love how it feels really soft. My skin feels nice and soft after. If I don’t use it the night before, the next day my skin feels all wrinkley. But when I do use it… Not wrinkley!

And isn’t that what we all want from our skin care products?